Staff Contact:

Andrea J. Burney, APR

Director of  Public Relations



Benjamin Winstead

Benjamin Winstead

DANVILLE, VA, April 14, 2014 – Danville Community College Precision Machining Technology student Benjamin Winstead of Danville sure knows his stuff when it comes to machines. He recently won first place for precision machining at the Virginia SkillsUSA Leadership Conference and Skills Contest, held at John Tyler Community College in Chester. As the state winner, Winstead is now headed to the national SkillsUSA where he will compete with precision machining students from across the country. The event will be held in Kansas City, MO, June 23-27.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA helps each student excel. At the national level, Winstead will compete in NIMS Levels I & II manual machining skills and knowledge areas, including operation of manual milling machines, lathes, drill presses, and surface grinders. Contestant knowledge of CNC programming skills using a PC will be evaluated. Related knowledge and skill in the areas of engineering drawing interpretation, GD&T, technical math, machining practices, use of precision measuring/hand tools and ability to communicate verbally using proper industry terminology are also part of this competition.

“I am extremely proud of Ben’s accomplishments in SkillsUSA. All of our students in the program have their skills tested on a daily basis as they complete their assigned projects. But the pressure is really put on them during competition,? says Kevin Poole, Instructor of Precision Machining Technology.

“Not only do they have to use their skills as machinists, but they are under extreme time constraints as well. That can really make a difference when precision counts,? Poole continues. “Ben didn’t let the pressure hinder him, and really came through to represent us well at the state level. I have every confidence in him that he will do the same in Kansas City this year.?

Winstead, who will complete his studies in May 2014 with a Diploma in Precision Machining Technology, says his success is due to his DCC program training. He enrolled in the college as a full-time student in fall 2012. He says he chose DCC because of his long-standing interest in the machining field.

“Precision machining has always interested me. Being able to understand how certain parts are made and the process involved is an invaluable skill in the world today,? Winstead says. “Having my diploma will also open up a lot of doors for great job opportunities.?

He adds that his ultimate career goal is owning a fabrication shop where he could make parts, restore antique furniture, as well as make furniture. He also plans to pursue an Engineering degree. He currently runs his own locksmith business.

Returning to school was a challenge for Winstead, who explains it was his wife, Amanda, who encouraged him to do so.

“She told me anytime is a good time to better yourself and expand your knowledge,? he adds. “Having to juggle work and college has been difficult at times, but it will surely be worth it on graduation day!?

In addition to a full work and school schedule, Winstead is involved in his community. He serves on the Executive Board of Directors at Roman Eagle Memorial Home, and is the Worshipful Master for 2014 for Roman Eagle Masonic Lodge #212. He is also a member of the Optimist Club of Danville and the Valley of Danville Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite.

For now, Winstead is looking forward to the national competition and is excited that he has come this far.

“DCC’s machine program is a very good one,? We learn a lot about every aspect of the machining industry,? Winstead notes. “The shop and machines are state of the art and the instructors prepare their students very well for the workforce.


Copyright © 2014  by Danville Community College

1008 South Main St., Danville, VA 24541  |  434.797.2222  |  TTY: 434.797.8542  |  FAX: 434.797.8514  |  Toll-Free: 1.800.560.4291
 Danville Community College promotes and maintains educational and employment opportunities without regard to race, color, sex, ethnicity, religion, gender, age (except when age is a bona fide occupational qualification), disability, national origin, or other non-merit factors. Danville Community College prohibits sexual harassment including sexual violence..